I just love running! I started running about 12 years ago mostly because the sport was nearly free. I figured all I'd need was a good pair of shoes! My first race of any distance was the 2007 Freep Marathon (not a 5k, not a 10k, not a half, but the full!). Though I feel I’ve learned a lot since then about effective training, preparation, clothing, nutrition, even including the mental aspects, I still feel I have so much to learn. Since that 2007 Freep Marathon I have run it every year since, less one year where I dropped to the half. I've completed 14 marathons total to this point, including Chicago twice and the Belgrade Marathon in Serbia. It was while I was in Belgrade for the 2016 marathon with my wife and her family where I got the reminder e-mail about the registration deadline for the Pinckney trail race that coming weekend. I think what I told my wife was that I really wanted to do a trail race because it almost blended my love of running with my other favorite sport - mountain biking. I was already in shape due to training for the Belgrade marathon, so why not? Right? Haven't we all said that at one point? She told me I was nuts because we were getting home from our transatlantic flight late Saturday and the race was first thing Sunday, but agreed to it. I think she was distracted at the time, luckily. Come Sunday morning, I asked her if she would drive me to the race which is something I don't normally do.
D (my wife): "why do you need a ride, you don't normally ask me that."
Me: "I'm going to be out there longer than usual and might be really tired at the end."
D: "what distance are you doing?"
Me: "the 50k."
D: [with the look] "you're crazy!"
She drove me. I’m so glad she did. She was a part of one of the coolest things in my life and it means so much to me. I finished and felt better after that race than I did after finishing the 26.2 in Belgrade the week before! At the time I knew nothing about approaching trail races or ultras. Luckily I found my pacer from the Martian half a few weeks prior at the start corral who has done a ton of ultras and he gave me some advice which was very helpful.
Including that Pinckney 50k, I've done the race 3 years in a row now. I try to be continuously in a state of learning, trying new approaches and equipment. Last year I did my first 50 miler in Marquette and that race absolutely deepened my love for being outside, for being on the trails and for this sport and the people that participate in this sport. D was with me for that Marquette race, and some great new friends we made that weekend waited for me all the way to the 15hr end of my race to give me a Hopslam. That Marquette Trail 50 is like the ultimate test around here and the views are breathtaking. D and I are going back this year for the 50k. I can't wait! Right after Marquette this year I am planning to participate in my first Ragnar race on a 6-person team where we'll each run about 33mi over the course of a day as we go from Muskegon to Traverse City!
On the crazy note, I'm beginning my grassroots campaign to convince D to let me do the Canadian Death Race! I'm born and raised in Windsor Ontario and have never been to the Rockies. Why not run 125km my first time there? Makes sense to me. I like to start small.
Over the last two years I've begun volunteering as a pacer as well and I absolutely love it. I paced Martian the last two years and got to be a part of some really awesome and inspiring people who reached their goals. What a feeling! I also just paced DXA2 for the first time and had an incredibly rewarding experience there as well. I plan on continuing to volunteer as a pacer as much as I can. For those who have engaged with a pacer, take a second to thank them after your race if you can, it means a lot. That’s why we’re there!
I'm proud and happy to be a Gazelle Ambassador because the store has been good to me and the people are awesome. I love trying new gear and talking about the sport and sharing experiences with others. Hit me up on Instagram or at some of our local races! I’ve tried a lot of gear between running, mountain biking and skiing and love to geek it up on that stuff.